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Rain Check Magazine

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  • Written by Dean Gould


The Gold Coast's coastal culture is being thrust onto the world stage as the world's first pop-up Sand Hostel opens in Broadbeach.

A Gold Coast Tourism and Hostelworld partnership has created a fully functional Sand Hostel in one of the destination's most iconic locations. The world-first structure will host media, social media stars and competition winners from 19-22 September – with the public invited to interact with an array of beach-inspired activities, live music and entertainment.

Perched on the foreshore at Kurrawa Terrace, the unmissable event will play out on television, radio and online with images of the Gold Coast's enviable coastal panoramas tipped to entice a new generation of visitors. 

Gold Coast Tourism Executive Director Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Dean Gould, says international youth visitors are a major contributor to the tourism sector. 

“More than 300,000 international travellers aged 15 to 29 visit the Gold Coast annually, accounting for approximately 30% of all international arrivals to the region.

“There is great potential for the youth market to significantly grow the tourism pie, and partnering with Hostelworld - the largest online hostel booking platform - is an innovative opportunity for the Gold Coast to showcase its progressive tourism offering to the next generation of travellers.”

With 46% of all visitor expenditure in Australia attributed to the youth market ($18.7 billion), the Gold Coast is well poised to “attract greater numbers from the lucrative segment,” according to Mr Gould.

The collaboration 18 months in the making was engineered by the peak tourism body for the region, as part of its approach to champion the broader narrative of the Gold Coast.

“The youth travel category is more competitive than ever; we have witnessed a fundamental shift in the way youth travellers consume media. We know that just about every brand in the world is trying to grab the attention of millennials, and we believe the Sand Hostel concept is a great platform to spur interest in the Gold Coast,” said Mr Gould.

According to the latest International Visitor Survey* figures, 138,496 international backpackers headed to the Gold Coast in the past year, up 7%, with the average length of overnight visitation increasing by 10%.

International backpackers stay 13 nights on the Gold Coast, almost double the average when compared to traditional holiday makers. They not only stay longer but are actively seeking locally-lead genuine immersive experiences.

“Youth travellers are tomorrow's family and business travellers, so it's in our interest to expose this resilient market to our destination, early on in their global travels,” added Mr Gould.

“By teaming up with Gold Coast Tourism, we want to challenge the perception of hostels and show how they are amazing social hubs where you meet open-minded travellers and create extraordinary memories. We've listened to what our customers want and created the ultimate dream hostel right here on the Gold Coast. The Sand Hostel will offer the opportunity for the lucky guests to immerse themselves in the local Gold Coast culture and interact with travellers from across the globe with the sand between their toes in a beautiful setting. It will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen before,” says Hostelworld's Head of Acquisition, Niall Walsh.

Hostelworld boasts the world's largest hostel-booking platform, generating over nine million reviews across 35,000 properties in more than 180 countries; the organisation is undeniably a youth powerhouse.

Note: The Sand Hostel is open to public between 12pm on Wednesday 20 September and 10pm on Thursday 21 September.

*All figures quoted are from international visitor data provided by the International Visitor Survey (IVS), for the period 12 months to June 2017, conducted by Tourism Research Australia. Youth are defined as 15-29 years. Specific youth expenditure figures for the Gold Coast are not collected.

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